Cyber attacks have become commonplace for businesses in all industries. With rising frequency and growing costs associated with attacks, businesses need to implement cyber prevention and response plans.

Without a cyber attack response plan in place, confusion over how to respond may worsen the attack, lead to mistakes by your organization that increase liability and leave you unprepared to address the concerns of clients and other stakeholders.

10 Actionable Steps to Create a Cyber Attack Response Plan

Developing a cyber attack response plan now before you face a cyber incident allows your franchise to safeguard your business and minimize your risk. It’s easy to get started forming your own incident response plan with these steps:

  1. Conduct a Risk Assessment

A full risk assessment can give you important information about your organization when it comes to a cyber incident. Look at the likelihood and severity of threats. Don’t just focus on worst-case scenarios. Every franchise faces different risks, and your cybersecurity incident response plan should be tailored to your own needs.

  1. Identify Your Cyber Vulnerabilities

Look at what is at stake for your business in the event of an attack. It could be data (client records, financial details, sales data, trade secrets) or systems (daily operations, backups, communications). Note that different types of data and systems may have different vulnerabilities and require different responses in the event of a hack.

3.    Decide When to Raise the Alarm

Because your organization’s risks and vulnerabilities will be unique, your own definitions of what’s normal and what constitutes a cyber attack will also be unique to your business. Your plan should precisely define when it is appropriate to raise the alarm that a cyber attack has occurred.

4.    Develop a Detection Plan

Determine how your business will detect a hack, breach or other cybersecurity incident. Your business may be protected by in-house automated systems, utilize a help ticketing system or be monitored by outside security.

5.    Gather Your Team

A strong cybersecurity incident response team will be crucial during a hack. You’ll also need to involve key stakeholders across other parts of your organization, including management, HR, communications and legal. Your team may also expand to include outside experts, such as data forensics experts and your insurer.

6.    Take Inventory of Assets and Resources

In the event of an attack, you’ll need to know what systems and experts you can rely on. Take an inventory of systems, such as backups, firewalls, log systems and software.

7.    Plan Your Incident Response

A crucial stage of planning involves determining how your business will investigate attacks, contain threats and recover from a hack. Your plan should address each kind of incident you may face, deliver a plan of action your team can follow and take advantage of your assets and resources.

8.    Draft Your Communications Now

A cybersecurity incident often mandates notification and requires careful public relations management. It’s a good idea to draft communication templates that can be used in the event of an attack. Planning now ensures you meet legal and regulatory requirements, create consistent messaging and can act quickly when needed.

9.    Create a Cybersecurity Event Log Template

Staying organized as your team responds to a threat is important. Use a cybersecurity event log to track the discovery of the hack, the communications and actions taken and other technical data. Documentation helps your security experts, legal team and law enforcement as they assist with your cyber attack response.

10.  Remain Vigilant for Threats

Stay alert for cyber attack threats. Practice your incident response plan with your team to ensure you’re ready for a hack. Review your plan regularly and update it whenever your systems, operations or personnel change.

Supporting Your Cyber Attack Response Plan with Insurance

A cyber security incident can have a far-reaching impact on your franchise, and the risk is always there, even with all the right protections in place. Cyber liability insurance coverage can help minimize your exposure, cover costs and recover more quickly.

Protect your franchise with Cyber Liability insurance from Lockton Affinity today.